Review of Aqara Contact Sensor P2 with Matter via Thread

Cupertino, March 27, 2023

Aqara makes extensive use of Zigbee in its products, similar to Philips Hue. However, some believe that Zigbee's future is uncertain due to the rise of Thread. While I don't think we're there yet, if Zigbee does decline, it will likely happen gradually over a few years. Nonetheless, Aqara has released its own Thread device, the Contact Sensor P2, which not only uses Thread instead of Zigbee but is also compatible with Matter. This means it can work with major ecosystems like Apple Home, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and Home Assistant. Interestingly, it currently doesn't work with the Aqara Home app because it requires a Matter Controller. Aqara plans to release the M3 Hub next year, which will serve as a Matter Controller and support both Aqara's Zigbee devices and Matter devices. The M3 Hub will also include a Thread Border Router, enabling Matter over Thread devices to work with the Aqara app. If you're curious about how this device performs, keep reading.

The packaging of the P2 showcases the Matter and Thread logos on the front and rear, respectively. It also displays specifications and features on the sides. The P2 is the successor to the Aqara Contact Sensor P1, which was only released in China. It can be considered the updated version of Aqara's standard contact sensor, with the first instance of a Matter logo on Aqara packaging. The design of the P2 differs from the original contact sensor, and the rear of the packaging features the Thread logo. The specs include the model, battery type, wireless protocols (Thread and BLE), dimensions, operating temperature, and humidity.

The P2 comes with a contact sensor, magnet, manual in multiple languages, and a small magnetic metal piece. The metal piece can be used for windows with two different closed positions. The manual includes a Matter QR code, which can be scanned using the Home app to add the device. The sensor itself has a distinct look, resembling a large suppository. It has a large pairing button that will eventually be programmable and a slot for opening its battery compartment.

Many people, including myself, are fans of Zigbee. However, Thread has also gained popularity and offers a different approach. The main difference between the two can be described as "de-centralization." Zigbee child devices rely on a Zigbee hub, but with Thread devices, they connect to a Thread Border Router. If one router goes down, the Thread devices can reroute to another available Border Router, allowing for a decentralized connection. In Apple Home, the settings for the P2 are similar to other contact sensors, with the addition of options for pairing and connected services due to its Matter compatibility.

Overall, the Aqara Contact Sensor P2 introduces Thread and Matter compatibility to Aqara's product lineup, offering users more options for integration and connectivity with different platforms.

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